I knew all week that I wanted to preach on prayer yesterday. And I spent the beginning part of the week working on a message from Acts 12. But by midweek, I was drawn to this passage in 2 Thessalonians. I have never preached from 2 Thessalonians before. So I had a little extra work to do. But the Lord helped me to get it all done and I was ready to preach.

Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians from Corinth, where he was facing various challenges. And he wrote this letter to a young church that was also facing various challenges. And for both pastor and people, there would be more challenges down the road. Moreover, they were separated geographically from one another, not sure when they would see each other again. But there was still a way they could help each other, even though they were separated from one another. Paul says in this text, “I need you to be praying for me. And I want you to know that I am praying for you.”

In a few weeks, my beloved congregation and I will find ourselves at different ends of the country. But I wanted to say to the church that there is still a powerful way we can continue to help one another in the days ahead: Prayer!

This is a great text. And I thought it was an important message for the congregation to hear. But I was afraid to preach this message, for some reason. But the Lord helped me. Here is the sermon skeleton from Sunday’s message:

Title: “Mutual Prayer for difficult Times”

Text: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

Point: There is a dynamic power at work when we pray for one another through difficult times.

Outline: This text teaches us three spiritual priorities for mutual prayer in difficult times.

I. The Word of the Lord (3:1-2)

    A. Pray about the opportunity that is before us to spread the word (v. 1)

       1. Pray that the word will get out: “may speed ahead

       2. Pray that the word will get in: “and be honored

    B. Pray about the opposition that is before us to stop the word (v. 2)

       1. The request he made: “that we may be delivered

       2. The reality he faced: “wicked and evil men
   
       3. The reason he gave: “For not all have faith

II. The Faithfulness of the Lord (3:3-4)

    A. The Lord can be trusted to do what needs to be done for you (v. 3).

       1. Internal stability: “establish you

       2 External security: “guard you against the evil one

    B. The Lord can be trusted to do what needs to be done through you (v. 4)

III. The Direction of the Lord (3:5)

    A. The Priority: “your hearts

    B. The petition: “May the Lord direct your hearts

    C. The Provision:

       1. The love of God will lead the way.

       2. The steadfastness of Christ will lead the way.